By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
OMFG: I was totally blown away by this little gem ["Let There Be Gifts,"; Hair Balls, by Richard Connelly, February 9]. I had to see for myself, and damned if you weren't totally on target. It's rich that there's a mailing address for the presents in case you can't attend the main event. I saw that they've added a blurb – not sure if it's in response to your article, but if you keep clicking, the woman gives her address so you can just mail her stuff if you can't afford the ticket and a "cream or gold"; evening gown. Some people...Thanks for the eye-opener!
Beside herself: I am so livid about the invitation. I got it last week, and I forwarded it to the FBI and the IRS and asked that these people be investigated. I was beside myself. To know this crazy, I-think-I'm-all-that bitch thinks the world has nothing else to do with their money except to buy her a Gucci and pay for her Jag, I'd just like to shake the crap out of her. Where is the spiritual value in a Gucci? Who the hell does she think she is, anyway? Do you think she'll report her cache to the IRS as personal income? I think not.
Slap her for me! Back into reality. I have never heard of any such thing, and what? All in the name of God?
Can I get a Bling Bling!
Who's Being Shortchanged?
Apples and oranges: In your article ["Shortchanged," by Keith Plocek, February 9], besides championing people who have illegally entered our country for whatever reason, you're bringing to the fore several points that are erroneous. This is part and parcel of journalism, I understand. But the very essence of putting a positive spin on these felons – and they are felons, after several illegal border crossings – is counterproductive to aiding the plight of not only the middle class but also the downtrodden in our society, in that they must pony up the tax money to fund schooling and health care for these illegal immigrants. This point is purposely overlooked time and again by you and your cronies: Immigration is an acceptable part of our culture, but illegal immigration is a completely different ball game – apples and oranges!
Discussing Juan Alvarez and his illegal trespass into our country, you say he was fleeing an oppressive military government and that he considered himself a "product of the policies of the U.S. in Latin American countries." What a crock! He is a product of his own big mouth and inept digestion of his own government's policies. The article states he "was a part-time student with a part-time job and a full-time interest in protesting the government." Juan should have either "went with the flow" or put in papers for a legal entrance to the country of his choice. Instead, he chose to break the law of the very country he now chooses to challenge in bringing acceptability to his felonious countrymen.
Let's raise the minimum wage and put the folks to work who are American citizens, and make the employers pay their fair amount – plus insurance and health care. Will it cost you and me more? Of course. The nefarious employers are going to pass it on to us! But maybe, just maybe, we'll have lower payments in our insurance and school taxes as a result.
What Poverty Is Like
Economic nobodies: If anyone does not understand what poverty is like for most people, they really need to read the article "Eaten Alive" [by Josh Harkinson, January 26]. It goes to the heart of the economic condition that insidiously shapes a person's view of the world, other people, themselves and their God.
I've worked for several decades in low-income communities as part of my efforts to advance the interests of my own Hispanic/Latino community, la comunidad. Having grown up poor myself, I've always understood the complex dilemmas inherent to having less than what you need.
Not too long ago, someone asked me what poverty was like and what my opinions on the subject were. I was dumbfounded that an educated professional would have to ask such a naive question. I wasn't sure how to respond during just a brief, casual conversation, because there is such profundity that underlies poverty. I thought everyone knew that.
As a Latina, I am making several copies of "Eaten Alive" to send to friends and colleagues so that they can understand the practicalities of being poor. I'm also attaching a note that says, "If you want to truly understand the dynamics of poverty, please read this. Please keep in mind that for Hispanics/Latinos, like other immigrants, there's a special spin on this whole scenario if you haven't yet totally learned the language or fully understand the business culture of Americans."
Kudos to reporter Josh Harkinson for accurately describing what it's really like to be an economic nobody. Now they know.
Paula Alcala Rosner
Buffalo, New York
What about us? In your article about Julian Schnabel ["Doin' the Hustle,"; by Kelly Klaasmeyer, February 9], there was a picture of Schnabel in purple PJs. You cut out the best part of the picture. It was me in the chestnut sport coat. Also my daughter, Marsha Cohen, and my granddaughter, Leah Cohen. The article was correct; his paintings are garbage.
Editor's note: We took you out of the photo because it was a negative review, and we were afraid it would appear that you were endorsing the negative review.
Got the blues: Thanks for the kind words about Cactus ["A Crying Shame,"; by John Nova Lomax, February 9]. I started working there last May, and they didn't say a thing about my bright blue hair except "cool!"; Where else can one get hired these days with blue hair?
Quinn Bishop has been a great boss (I almost don't want to use that word for him); not only was he great about getting me some incredible CDs, but he would listen eagerly to my opinions on music. The rest of the Cactus gang is fantastic as well; I especially enjoyed the story of the car full of Cactoids and the devil's weed " classic Cactus, indeed! I miss working there already.
I always look forward to reading your column, and this is one I will clip and save for my archives. Thanks again for the article, and all your work at the Press. You do your family legacy proud.
Where the heart is: You brought it home, John! Thanks for giving a shit about music – and about Cactus.
The Name's Tommy
We're golden: I own six pawnshops for 21 years, with the same stores, same locations, same customers. Mr. Name Withheld sounds more like an employee who had a problem with his pawnshop employer ["Pawn Problems,"; Letters, February 2]. I encourage your paper to come into any of my locations and speak to all my customers and see how many drug addicts you see in my stores. As for writing the laws, read the pawnshop regulations and you will find that we are regulated and licensed by the State of Texas. Eighty-three percent of my pawn customers redeem their loans. If Mr. Name Withheld had any real facts, he surely would have given his name and the company he worked for. My name is Tommy Hastings, and I own Pawn One stores in Houston, Texas. Look in the Yellow Pages for all my locations. The State of Texas will take your pawn license in a second if you are found dealing with drug addicts who steal, as Mr. Name Withheld says pawnshops do. My question is, why did he work for them for 10 months and not report the chain to the State of Texas? He was also licensed by the state to work in a pawnshop. Where was his moral character then? I operate a clean business that performs a service for people who can't go to banks or obtain loans elsewhere. Name Not Withheld,